Being a Foreigner Abroad

Your foreign language skills, but also your clothes and your body language, and the volume of your speech will make you recognizable as a foreigner. Once you are settled, your time might be well spent observing the locals and identifying various ways in which their appearance and demeanor are different from what you are used to. Both from a cultural as well as a safety  perspective, you are advised as a general rule to keep a low profile: speak the target language in public, do not speak loudly; do not wear typically American clothes even if you see the locals wearing them; do not hang out in American-style haunts. Remember that American body language and public behavior in general often seem to your host culture to be lacking in discretion or subtlety and that what we take to be natural may seem childish or immature to them. Unfortunately, the same behavior in women may be taken as a sign of sexual promiscuity. Learning to blend in can be an important part of the adaptation process we all have to go through in new surroundings as well as of the educational process that will be taking place throughout the year.

Skyline at Night, Florence, Italy

Skyline at Night, Florence, Italy

 

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